"A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

School and Teachers

by Stefan Schmied
Translated by
Gerald "Jerry" Thomas Boyle

      At the turn of the century, Scheindorf already had, because of the high number of students, two classes in the religious elementary school. According to witnesses, the school building stood across from the current school on the estate of Balthasar Pfefferkorn. At that time, Head Teacher Paul Petuker was also the choirmaster: Hans Muller handled the second class from 1900-1911. The Swabian children were taught in Hungarian, and were only allowed one afternoon when they were taught to read and write German. The willingness to sacrifice of the Swabian townspeople made it possible to build a new school in place of the no longer useful and up-to-date one. The cost of the new building, which was dedicated and officially opened on December 8, 1902, was 8,000 Kronen. The Swabians were able to enjoy this school, which was built with such great sacrifice, for only 15 years, because it became the victim of a fire on August 21, 1917. The Swabians wasted no time, but rebuilt quickly. In 1919, a new school opened, at a cost of 85,000 Kronen. This building is still used today for the education and training of students.

      Petuker's successor in 1907 was Johann Prommer. Muller's place - he was transferred to Madratz - was taken by Georg Schradi in December 1911. After Prommer and Schradi were drafted into the army in 1914, Pastor Ettinger took over the teaching. In 1915, teacher Emmerich Horvath became choir-master, but he too was drafted in 1916. His successor, Ludwig Krause, died after a short period of teaching so that the priest had to help again. From 1917-1918, Stefan Jackel and Elisabeth Feld worked at the Scheindorf Elementary School. When Georg Schradi came back from the war in 1919, teacher Feld left her position.

      With the change in government in 1919, there was also a change in the schools. The Romanian authorities ordered that German be used in the Swabian communities in the Sathmar area. The Hungarian bishop and his priests opposed this measure and took the point of view that the Hungarian school law of 1868 gave the school officials and the Church community the right to decide which language to use. Therefore, the bishop on March 15, 1921 ordered each pastor to take a statement from each family about which language they considered as their mother tongue. Pastor Ettinger and his Scheindorf parishioners decided unanimously to use the German language. The teaching in German, which was officially reintroduced in 1921, continues to today.

      Georg Schradi, who could not come to terms with the annexation of the Sathmar area of Romania, left for Hungary in 1923. The school became one class, and choirmaster Jackel had to teach more than 100 children for the time being. Only in the fall of 1926 was the second job of teacher filled by Margarita Lang, who stayed until 1940. In 1936, Stefan Jackel left the town and moved to Terebesch. His successor was Martin Gyetko, and his wife Franziska, who started as a third teacher in 1938, took over the second teacher position in 1940. Both of them worked until the evacuation of the town in October, 1944. They taught 120 students on the average.

      Pastor Ettinger, after the annexation, was the savior of the German religious school. In 1948, when all the schools in Romania became state schools, the Scheindorf Elementary School kept German as the teaching language. Two teachers teach the 50 children in the primary school.

      Scheindorf's little children, who were taken care of in a child-care facility, in Hungarian until 1915, and in German between the two world wars, have been taught in a German Kindergarten since 1968.

[Published at 29 Sep 2006 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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